Crops News

EU residue ruling opens doors for specialty crop growers

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Exporting tree nuts to EU countries has just gotten simpler for U.S. specialty crop growers after an EU ruling increasing the maximum residue level (MRL) limit. The ruling was based on residue data developed by IR-4 and almond, pistachio, and walnut grower groups under a USDA grant with support from Verdesian Life Sciences.

Confirming Verdesian’s assessment, the research findings on residue studies on almonds, pistachios, and walnuts reviewed by the EU showed no short-term or lifetime consumption risk of foods treated with phosphite based fungicides exceeding the current MRL limit. Further, the consumer exposure assessment for 27 EU consumer groups was acceptable to the EU for consumer safety and consumption based upon the toxicological properties analysis assessment.

The revised ruling has a significant positive impact on California nut, citrus, fruit, and vegetable producers, specifically those exporting almonds, pistachios, and walnuts, with over three million acres of nuts grown in California alone, many protected by Verdesian’s phosphite technologies.

The EU Authority upon review of research submitted by Verdesian Life Sciences, IR-4 Specialty Crops Project, Almond Alliance of California, Central California Almond Growers Association (CCAGA), and California Walnut Board contributed to the new assessment and amended ruling. The IR-4 Specialty Crops Project is supported by the United States Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, which provides safe & effective pest management solutions for specialty crop growers.

Prior to this EU amendment, the previous EU ruling resulted in many countries using default MRL tolerances, putting the burden on California and other U.S. state grower exporters to meet strict MRL standards by limiting phosphite based nutritional and biocontrol solutions.

The new EU ruling clarifies and raises MRL levels with phosphite based nutritional and biocontrol solutions, giving specialty export growers access and flexibility to apply these solutions as needed without fear of trade barriers due to previous MRL levels.

Tags: Agriculture News, Farming, Food Safety
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